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Retromedia presents
Terror of the Bloodhunters / Liane Jungle Goddess (1962/1956)

"Hey, she's almost pretty."
- Thoren (Hardy Kruger) from Liane Jungle Goddess

Review By: Rich Rosell   
Published: March 07, 2005

Stars: Robert Clarke, Dorothy Haney, Marion Michael, Hardy Kruger
Other Stars: Steve Conte, Robert Christopher, Rudolph Forster, Irene Galter, Peter Mosbacher
Director: Jerry Warren, Eduard von Borsody

MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (brief nudity)
Run Time: 02h:37m:00s
Release Date: March 08, 2005
UPC: 014381013825
Genre: cult


Style
Grade
Substance
Grade
Image Transfer
Grade
Audio Transfer
Grade
Extras
Grade
B- C+C+B- C+

DVD Review

Not to be outdone by the sexploitation preservation of Something Weird Video, Retromedia has advanced the cause of long-lost pulp adventures with the jungle double-bill of Terror of the Bloodhunters (1962) and Liane Jungle Goddess (1959), a couple of wildly disparate tales with no real modern day redeeming values other than unintentional humor. Dumb, hammy and badly acted, both films may have lost any semblance of serious dramatic appeal that they may have once had, but they are thankfully piled high with campy, laugh-in-your-beer goodness and one genuine movie goddess.

Terror of the Bloodhunters
01h:11m:22s
Directed by Jerry Warren

Jerry Warren's big claim to fame as a director was cutting and re-editing foreign films and turning them into trashy new Americanized horror flicks, as he did with Face of the Screaming Werewolf in the early 1960s, where he chopped up Gilberto Solares' classic La Casa del Terror and turned it into something just plain awful.

With Terror of the Bloodhunters there was no cobbling of someone else's stuff, and it's pretty much all Warren here, certainly something of a rarity where the only "borrowed" footage is some typical stock shots of native villages and the like. Set in the rough and tumble Amazon jungles, boundary-pushing artist Steve (Warren regular Robert Clarke) and a pal have to bust out of the deadly Devil's Island prison colony, along with Marlene (Dorothy Haney) the wide-eyed daughter of the prison boss, and make their way to freedom.

But that's easier than it sounds, as such obstacles as panthers and a tribe of headhunters make travel treacherous, but that is where Warren gets to interject some of that stock footage he had lying around in a feeble attempt to breathe some life into tired scenes of characters walking through jungle sets. The rump wiggling bellydancing by the group of white "jungle girls" looks more like a low-rent strip club act than the "fantastic ritual of headhunters" promised on the film's poster, but that's life.

Liane Jungle Goddess
01h:25m:46
Directed by Eduard von Borsody

This sexy German-made jungle flick—essentially a female version of the Tarzan mythos—from director Eduard von Borsody is pure redundant hashing, but all that is swept away by the vine-swinging beauty of Marion Michael as Liane, the mysterious blonde girl who wears very little clothing and who always seems to have a small lion cub to strategically hold in front of her bare breasts. Not many folks think of Marion Michael when they think of screen goddesses, but they should. Really, they should.

The familiar fish-out-of-water silliness of having hunky good guy Thoren (The Flight of the Phoenix's Hardy Kruger) bring Liane out of the jungle (she's supposedly the long-lost granddaughter of a wealthy industrialist) and into the big city is about as uneventful as you can imagine—and things like her marveling at the wonder of bathtubs is only made tolerable by her choice of tiny nighties.

Shot in Germany in 1956 but released in the US in 1959 as an "adult film" and presented here in a horribly dubbed English version, von Borsody's film is still immensely more watchable than Warren's feature, though the stunning Marion Michael is understandably a large part of this film's cult appeal. The story doesn't really offer any surprises along the way, but the acting is tolerable (for B-movie pulp) and the "adventure" elements are really just flimsy excuses to see her run or swim or—at one not so subtle point—eat a banana fed to her by Hardy Kruger. The sex appeal pours off of her in waves, and Michael really should be on the cover of this release.

I bet it would sell a hell of a lot more copies.

Rating for Style: B-
Rating for Substance: C+

 

Image Transfer

 OneTwo
Aspect Ratio1.85:1 - Widescreen1.33:1 - Full Frame
Original Aspect Rationoyes
Anamorphicnoyes


Image Transfer Review: Retromedia has apparently done all they could with these two, and though the backcover touts these as "new digital film transfers", both transfers leave a little to be desired. The core of the problems are understandably age related, but neither of the films look particularly good.

Terror of the Bloodhunters strangely enough is presented in nonanamorphic widescreen (roughly 1.85:1), and that's really about it for anything exceedingly complimentary that can be said about the print. Showing its age, it actually looks like it is from 1942 rather than 1962, with the black & white image often looking distractingly fuzzy and grainy.

Liane, on the other hand, has been issued in 1.33:1, in what looks like a slipshod colorized version, though this one was actually filmed in color. Colors are very washed out, save for Marion Michael's blonde hair, and the nicked and scratched print has a burnt sepia look to it, with just swatches of vaguely discernible color here and there. It is an absolute shame that Liane could not be salvaged any better than this, and this transfer isn't much of an improvement over an earlier release by a different company.

Image Transfer Grade: C+

 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
MonoEnglishno


Audio Transfer Review: Both features are presented in flat and lifeless mono, though Terror of the Bloodhunters sports an unnaturally beefed up music track for the opening credit sequence (as if it had been redone at some point), but it's short-lived. Quite a bit of noticeable hiss and crackle throughout, but no worse than most comparable pulp flicks of the era.

Audio Transfer Grade: B-

 

Disc Extras

Static menu with music
Scene Access with 12 cues and remote access
2 Original Trailer(s)
Packaging: Amaray
1 Disc
2-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extra Extras:
  1. Headshrinker TV commercial
Extras Review: Nothing to speak of for extras, other than trailers for Terror of the Bloodhunters and Liane (which is in black and white), as well as an old television commercial for a "make your own shrunken head" kit for kids. Weird.

Each feature, one per side, is cut into a measly six chapters.

Extras Grade: C+

 

Final Comments

From a purely camp standpoint, this double bill of 45-year-old jungle adventures packs more laughs than thrills, but at least they're still packing something.

Of the two B-movie features, Teutonic über-babe Marion Michael steals the show as the scantily-clad blonde jungle beauty Liane, and she exhibits the kind of timeless screen radiance that has more than stood the test of time. Wow...

 


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